Case Studies

Thursday, June 13, 2013, 1:00pm-2:30pm CDT

Session Chair:

  • Paul Sechrist, LanzaTech
  • Zhijun Jia, Chart Energy & Chemicals, Inc. 

Session Description:

The speakers in this session will present industrial experiences in process development. These case studies will describe the process of taking a new or improved concept from the lab to a commercial plant.  This session will incorporate tools and knowledge from other sessions and will show how prior experience shapes the actions of development and scale-up.    


FCC Riser Hydrodynamics Improvement Using Simulation ToolsLev Davydov, UOP a Honeywell Company
Photo-Bio-ReactorsMichael Corbett, Joule Unlimited Technologies
Scalability of CHER Reactor from Bench to Commercial ScaleZhijun Jia, Chart Energy & Chemicals, Inc. 

FCC Riser Hydrodynamics Improvement Using Simulation Tools

Lev Davydov, UOP a Honeywell Company

Past experiences of commercial FCC units indicate that hydrodynamics have a pronounced effect on the riser performance. For example, an increase of lift steam velocity has been shown to result in increased gasoline selectivity in many units. For a large FCC unit in Asia the installation of dual-radii feed distributors improved feed-catalyst contacting in the lower riser and also led to better gasoline yields.

A study of FCC riser hydrodynamics was undertaken to understand the phenomena observed in the field. It encompassed computational fluid dynamics (CFD), cold flow modeling, radioactive tracer studies, kinetic modeling and yield estimation. The ultimate goal of the study was to isolate the effects of riser diameter, lift steam velocity, and solids flux on the hydrodynamic behavior and yield performance of FCC risers.

Our CFD approach was successfully validated by cold flow results and applied to several commercial FCC units. The general trends of riser hydrodynamics were identified as follows. Lower vapor velocity, larger riser diameter and higher solids flux through the riser all contribute to hydrodynamic “pathologies”, such as catalyst downflow at the wall and vapor channeling through the core of the riser. In practice, these “non-idealities” lead to “under-conversion” of feed in the core of the riser and overcracking of products in the annulus of the riser.


Michael Corbett, Joule Unlimited

Joule is advancing its Helioculture™ technology platform for Liquid Fuel from the Sun™, which is expected to eclipse the scale, productivity and cost efficiency of any known alternative to fossil fuel today. Joule's integrated systems approach spans biology, process development, bioprocessing and engineering, including development of the modular SolarConverter® (photobioreactor) system.  This system enables direct fuel and chemical production in a single-step, continuous process by achieving high net energy gains while managing photon capture, CO2 delivery and mixing, thermal management, product synthesis and initial separation in an efficient process.

Joule has iterated the system design across lab scale, pilot scale, and demonstration scale, and has utilized a number of experimental and calculation-based modeling techniques to aid the scale up process.  This case study will provide an overview of the scale up techniques used to address efficient photon utilization, reactor thermal management, CO2/product mass transfer and initial separation.  Methods described will include the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling, Matlab based computational modeling of systems, and experimental modeling all within the context of Joule’s system evolution.

Scalability of CHER Reactor from Bench to Commercial Scale

 Zhijun Jia, Hani Gadalla, Steven Vallee, Chart Energy & Chemicals, Inc.

Chart Energy and Chemicals has developed the Compact Heat Exchange Reactor (CHER) based on its brazed aluminum heat exchanger technology. CHER has excellent heat transfer properties, allowing for process intensification through increased reaction rate, process integration of reaction and heat transfer, and a more compact reactor design.  Because of the repeating layered structure and flexible reactor design, CHER can be easily scaled up to the desired capacity.  Scalability of CHER is performed by choosing the proper reactor size and capacity as well as by modularized reactor units, depending on the maximum target plant productivity and desired operational flexibility such as a wider range of operation. 

Chart Energy and Chemicals has developed CHER for small- and mid-scale Fischer-Tropsch application.  The Fischer Tropsch reaction is highly exothermic and proper temperature control is essential for sustained operation of XTL plants.  This presentation will show Chart’s development from bench-scale reactors to current pilot scale demonstration. Reactor performance data for both scales will be presented, and commercial scale design will also be discussed.